Pattern Review - The Diago Top by Pauline Alice (in linen, three times!)

Spanish pattern designer Pauline Alice has recently released several new patterns, and this one, the Diago Top, caught our eye for summer. It's a very simple dolman-sleeved top with a slight high-low hem and stitched down facings. Our new linens came along, and some hot weather, and the deal was sealed.

The Diago (available only as downloadable PDF from her website) is designed with beginner sewists in mind. The instructions are not quite as hand-holdy as they could be for absolute beginners but that shouldn't put anyone off, either. This is a lovely pattern with a forgiving fit, nice finishing like the faced hem, and thorough steps like French seams, clipping and understitching.
Can anyone tell I was fighting off a cold and had an afternoon nap in this outfit?
Sometimes you have to go with messy reality or things will never be blogged.
And for a not completely crumpled version, here's Fiona!

Fabric hungry?

The pattern, in my size (44), calls for 2.1m of 150cm wide fabric. That's a lot for a simple top! The layout shows even the little neck facings cut on the centre fold of 150cm wide fabric. Maybe because it's designed for beginners and this makes it really easy... but rather wasteful!  I cut the pink one from 1.5m and the checked one from 1.6m (a little extra for pattern matching). The hem facings line up directly under the front and back body, and the neck facings cut easily from the scraps at the sides.

The pattern is too wide for 110cm wide fabric. However you could use it if you don't mind shortening the sleeves a little. You'd probably need to allow an extra 20cm or so for the neck facings in this case.

Staystitch the neckline

This is not suggested in the instructions but I recommend, if your fabric is at all shifty. The other step I'd add is to trim down down the seam allowances after the first step of French seaming. Oh and if you like, pop a little label (Labels by KATM) in the seam.

Hem facing tip

In case you get spatially confused by curved hem facings like I do, let me save you some pain and say MATCH THE CURVE SHAPES. In garment sewing there is often fiddly pinning of opposite curves (e.g. at sleeve caps) so they lie correctly when opened out. This is not the case for facings, which are turned back. Okay. Now I've written that down I hope I never have to unpick a clipped and understitched hem facing again!

Simple but worth it

The Diago is beautifully loose and comfortable and those dolman sleeves are the kind of airy fit I want on a hot day. I feel the proportions are spot on, and the hem hits perfectly so I'm covered but not swamped. These are the reasons we are more than happy to pay an independent designer for her work in creating something apparently so simple. Simple, but so right!
Subtle high-low hem. Shorts are an iteration of the Papercut Palisades as I went through fitting and pocket adjustments.


PATTERN: Diago Top by Pauline Alice (available as pdf only from her website)

FABRIC: Lithuanian washed linens: Seaglass Check 1.6m, Sorbet 1.5m, Granny Smith 1.5m.

SIZE: 44, as per measurements, check also finished garment measurements given.

COMMENTS: If you can, get this printed at the A0 copy shop size. I pieced together the A4 and the margins/overlaps were quite large - it seemed to use a lot more paper than it should have.

Measure pattern pieces for your size; you can probably use less fabric than pattern states.

EDIT: after quite a few wears, I would recommend if you French seam as the pattern suggests, go over the last pass of the curved underarm seam a couple of times with a small stitch length for strength. I've repaired a few popped stitches there.

Make one or several in our Lithuanian linens, you won't regret it!

- Jane & Fiona xx


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